Magnus Rex Danquah, Chief Operating Officer of the Local Organising Committee for CAN 2008 says the tournament in Ghana will set new standards.
Below, we reproduce an interview granted CAF's website by Magnus Rex Danquah in Accra on Ghana's readiness to host the biggest event on the continent's soccer calendar.
CAFONLINE.COM: How far have you reached in terms of getting ready for the CAN 2008?
Magnus Rex Danquah: We have come a long way in that direction. We have classified the preparations into two - infrastructure and organisation.Infrastructure has to do with the venues (stadiums), which I can point out that with respect to Sekondi and Tamale, we are ahead of schedule. For Accra and Kumasi, where the stadiums are being renovated, we are on schedule. On organization, it has to do with the preparation for the teams. As I speak to you know, hotels for all the 16 teams have been confirmed alongside officials of CAF, guests as well as reservation for the media.
CAFONLINE.COM: One area of concern was the external works at the Sekondi stadium. What is the progress of work in this respect?
Well that's no longer a problem. Government has awarded the contract to a firm to construct a dual carriage road to the site.Also, we have reached an advance level on preparation towards the CAF General Assembly, next year before the Nation's Cup.
CAFONLINE.COM: How are you coping with accommodation for the competition?
The issue of accommodation is being dealt with the by the officers in charge. We have linked up some of the hospitality agencies. Even Holiday Inn and Africa Regency Hotels, both under construction have all been put in our plans. What will surprise many is that we have met with the various University Councils to defer the re-opening date for next year. This will ensure some fans, who cannot afford hotel rooms use the halls of residence and hostels at a moderate rate.
CAFONLINE.COM: Some fears though have been expressed about the training pitches the teams will use during the tournament. What is the true situation?
The contracts for the renovating of all the training pitches have been awarded. Most of the training pitches will be parks of some educational institutions, which is part of the legacies we are leaving for the schools. We have set August as the deadline and I can assure you that El-Wak Stadium and the rest will be ready. The training pitch should be of the same quality as the main pitch and we have contacted a company based in the United Kingdom, to provide grasses of international standard.